What are the ethical issues surrounding medical treatment?
The desire to stave off death as long as possible is deeply rooted. We herald advances in medicine as "successes" because they enable us to meet a deep desire to live, and to postpone death as long as possible. Yet despite the enormous benefit of prolonging lives by medical means, in some cases prolonging life does not help the patient.
Patients sometimes refuse lifesaving interventions because they do not wish to be kept alive. Consider, for example, the case of a 22-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the neck who cannot move anything but his face and must blow into a straw to call a nurse to change his diaper. The patient refused a lifesaving blood transfusion for anemia. Although the transfusion would have cured the young man's anemia, it would have done nothing to ameliorate his underlying medical condition.
When patients are not competent to make decisions on their own behalf, family members sometimes make such decisions. Like patients, family members sometimes choose to forego lifesaving interventions. For example, the family of a severely retarded 67-year-old man who was diagnosed with leukemia determined that chemotherapy and blood transfusions should be withheld due to the trauma of treatment.The patient had an I.Q. of 10 and a mental age of approximately 2 years and 8 months. Unable to communicate verbally, he responded only to gestures or physical contact and used grunts and gestures to express himself. The family believed that side effects of chemotherapy—severe nausea, bladder irritation, numbness and tingling of the
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.